Enjoy a 9×13 pan of this scrumptious Ina Gartin’s Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe! A delicious side dish for any holiday, potluck, or gathering!

Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe

For any time of year, this side dish, Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe, is a crowd pleaser! Seriously, we love it with Prime Ribm and it’s also delicious for St. Patrick’s Day or Easter brunch!

Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe

Serve with any meat on the side, with a fresh vegetable. Or, it’s a great potato dish for a holiday brunch!

Easy to make ahead, I like to make the day before so it’s ready to pop in the oven the day of the party!

Ingredients for Potatoes-Fennel Gratin

  • Fennel bulbs (you can usually buy 2 in a pack from Trader Joe’s)
  • Yellow onion
  • Good olive oil and usnsalted butter
  • Russet potatoes
  • Heavy cream and Gruyère cheese (this cheese just makes this recipe!)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Ashland, Oregon

When I find a poem, quote, or saying that I like, you may notice that I love to share it on my blog. Over the years, I have quite a few that I’ve shared, but never this one. Which I love, because tonight I’m hosting a sit-down dinner for 17 guests for my cousin’s 50th birthday! Who, I have to brag for a minute, has her gorgeous photography included in this fabulous book on Ashland, Oregon, by author Barbara Tricarico.

Dinner Party Flow + Menu

That’s right… the big 5-0, which is very young. But when I was a little girl, it seemed so old. 50 is the new 40, right, and 60 the new 50? That’s what our generation says, but either way, I like to think of hosting dinner parties as giving a big GIFT to my guests.

There’s nothing quite like coming together for a long, drawn out evening with great friends, good food, fantastic conversation. (The table is where “life” happens, where we all “let down our hair” and talk about big-people stuff!)

Dinner Party Flow

It’s a lot of work to host, cook, serve, and make sure the flow of the evening is going just right. My husband is my greatest helper and inspiration (he’s awesome with keeping the conversation going), but for this party I asked two of my girlfriends to help me.

Dinner Party Flow + Menu + Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe

Change it around party

We’ll follow the party plan that I’ve used for many years, but instead of changing the seating around for each course, we’ll only change it up right before dessert.

  1. When guests come in, the table will be set, usually couples or dates sitting by each other. Water and wine glasses are all marked with names or initials, so the guests use the same glasses throughout the evening.
  2. After appetizers (mingling with drinks and convo), we’ll seat the guests for salad and then the main entree.
  3. Then it’s potty-break time and we transform the table.
  4. Change the seating to the new plan (everyone sits by someone new, and not your date or spouse).

Following a written-out seating chart (yes, I put good thought into this!), we’ll change the seating around, remove any unneeded silverware, replace old with fresh napkins, and move the water/wine glasses to the “new” seating.

Potato-Fennel Gratin

I’m so glad I decided to make Ina Garten’s Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe. It’s truly different than the average Scalloped Potato Gratin recipe, and the mix of fennel and cheese is just fantastic!

Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe

Start with gorgeous fennel bulbs.

Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe

Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe

Chopped and sauted with onion.

Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe

Sliced potatoes using this amazing OXO mandoline.

Potato-Fennel Gratin Recipe

Mixing all ingredients together.

Baked to perfection!

I made this dish up (2 pans) the day before, so when it’s time for dinner, I’ll warm them in the oven before serving tonight. Easy!

Dinner Party Menu

-Plenty of wine, Pellegrini water, tap water, and miscellaneous drinks.
-3 appetizers
-Fresh green salad with crunchy bread & butter
-Broiled Salmon
Green beans with bacon, onion, shallots
-Potato-Fennel Gratin {recipe below}
-Chocolate cake & 2 flavors of Tillamook ice cream (the ultimate birthday party dessert, right? And Tillamook is from Oregon!)
-Storyville Coffee

I hope you have a special entertaining moment in your home this weekend!

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Ina Garten's Potato-Fennel Gratin

Recipe from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I doubled the recipe and decreased the cooking time to 1 hour; heating them up later before the party.


  • 2 small fennel bulbs
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, 4 large potatoes
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, 1/2 pound
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Butter the inside of a 10-by-15-by-2-inch (10-cup) baking dish.
  • Remove the stalks from the fennel and cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Remove the cores and thinly slice the bulbs crosswise, making approximately 4 cups of sliced fennel. Saute the fennel and onions in the olive oil and butter on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until tender.
  • Peel the potatoes, then thinly slice them by hand or with a mandoline. Mix the sliced potatoes in a large bowl with 2 cups of cream, 2 cups of Gruyère, salt, and pepper. Add the sauteed fennel and onion and mix well.
  • Pour the potatoes into the baking dish. Press down to smooth the potatoes. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and 1/2 cup of Gruyère and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the potatoes are very tender and the top is browned and bubbly. Allow to set for 10 minutes and serve.


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Potato-Fennel Gratin

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